For businesses doing customer journey mapping, no day goes by without creating content.
It is the core of the entire digital marketing strategy, so one cannot view it as a one-time project.
Content that drives each point of the journey successfully is relevant and helpful to customers. That is why the marketing content you deliver throughout the journey needs to be carefully planned in a comprehensive strategy.
Most businesses are failing at that. Only 9 percent of content marketers agree that their strategy is “excellent.”
If for some reason, a customer journey map depicts the true customer journey inaccurately or incompletely, the content might miss the target.
In other words, an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of the customer journey can result in you wasting a lot of time creating content your customers are not really interested in.
This post will cover three customer journey map mistakes you need to check for to avoid making off-point content.
What is Customer Journey Mapping, and Why is it Important?
The customer journey map is a visualization that shows the stages a customer goes through when interacting with a business.
Typically, the map includes both online and offline interactions and gives an overview of the customer’s experience from their point of view.
Customer journey mapping is important because it:
- helps understand the customer experience with a company on a personal level
- describes how someone becomes a paying customer
- gives ideas for relevant and appropriate marketing messages and content
A customer journey map comes in different forms but always has one purpose: to teach businesses about their target customers.
This will help you know for sure what content they might find relevant, useful, and interesting.
Here is a customer journey map along with communication touchpoints between the brand and the customer at each major stage.
If the map is done wrong, you will have an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of your customer needs, even though you might think this is not your case,
Apparently, businesses are not doing a good job at that. You might very well be one of them.
According to studies, 79 percent of customers think they’re getting irrelevant content, while 81 percent of brands think otherwise.
You may become a part of these sad stats if you’re unaware of the mistakes you’re making that give you a false understanding of your customers.
Here are three mistakes that might be hurting your content marketing strategy.
1. Mapping the Journey from the Company’s Point of View
Creating a customer journey map according to the company’s processes is much easier and quicker.
For example, you can suggest that the customers find you through social media, which is awesome because your content marketing strategy focuses on that.
But what if social media is not the place where most of your potential customers interact with your content?
Then you might waste a lot of time focusing on the wrong things.
Writing Judge’s writer review website Darren Gostkowski says: “It’s better to start with a hypothesis about your customers and then test it with your customers. This means doing customer surveys, analyzing Google Analytics traffic and engagement data, and doing outreach.”
Online surveys of existing customers are one of the best ways to get information for a customer-focused journey map and test your hypotheses.
To collect the most useful info with a survey:
- include questions about the first communication touchpoint, e.g., “How did you find our product?”
- ask how a customer became interested in specific solutions, e.g., “What feature did you find the most interesting? Why?”
- ask to give more details about customer experience at every touchpoint throughout the journey. This means asking open-ended questions like “How was your experience with our customer support?”
- include a question that identifies the moment of becoming a customer, e.g., “When did you decide to buy our product?”
So, do not structure your customer journey map according to your company’s processes or capabilities. If you do, you can end up creating content that does not offer a lot of value for customers.
Better go out there and kindly ask real people how they became your customers.
2. Not Fully Understanding the Emotional Impact of the Customers’ Problem
Emotions play a deciding role in the buying decisions of both B2C and B2B customers. I
n fact, 95 percent of buying decisions are emotion-driven. So, if the content does not engage customers on an emotional level, they will be less willing to convert.
A lack of emotional engagement also suggests that there might be something wrong with your customer journey map.
Specifically, you did not fully understand the emotional impact of your customers’ issue.
That is why you should consider surveys and other research that captures the emotional sides of your customers’ problems.
General Motors, for example, used a Harris Poll study where the majority of respondents – parents of teens – said that “driving without adult supervision” was their top concern.
This finding was used to understand their customers’ emotions that go into choosing a safe vehicle. The result was the development of Teen Driving Technology that encourages safe driving.
To make an emotional connection with their customers through content, the company published a series of blog articles.
In one of them, they described a story of how the Teen Driving technology has made an impact in the life of a real parent.
The fear of parents about the safety of their children was the emotion that General Motor studied to create such on-point, relatable content.
To do the same and understand how emotions drive behaviors in your target audience, do some qualitative research.
You can start by searching through online communities like Quora and Reddit.
If you are a clothing brand mapping a customer’s journey, you might find these Quora questions interesting.
If they are indeed relevant to your customers, you can write blogs that answer that question, like this one.
Those who will be looking for answers will be glad you did that.
“Try to write your content in the language style that your audience prefers,” advises Joanna Rowe, a senior content specialist at review website Pick The Writer. “Simple, plain language is your best bet that the message will be easily understood.”
Next, study your customer reviews to find the emotional impact of your product or service.
Specifically, look for words indicating emotions or situations where frustrations can potentially be involved.
Here is a review of Semrush that has these words.
Try using these words in your content, titles, and other marketing materials to make it more relatable for readers.
Another way to improve your content’s ability to address the emotions of customers is to understand the search intent.
People buy products or services because they want it (plus most buying decisions are emotion-driven).
During keyword research, you will discover certain keywords that indicate an emotional state.
If you sell electronics, for example, you might see these.
“Which product should I buy: this one or that one?”
Each of these intents is connected to a specific emotion (in this case, hesitation and consideration).
You need to reflect these emotions in your titles, descriptions, and content to make them more relevant to customers.
Like here, Wired does a nice job at including words indicating what the reader might be thinking about when choosing a Mac.
The insights that you will learn while doing this qualitative research will be immensely helpful to create a customer journey map that represents:
- real emotions of your customers
- situations they find themselves in when considering your product or service
So, you will understand better how to create content that allows you to connect with them emotionally.
3. Creating Journey Maps from Just a Customer Experience Standpoint
A nicely done customer journey map is precious for teams in your company that study customer experience.
But do not confuse it with content marketing. Those are two completely different strategies pursuing different goals.
The goal of customer experience is to onboard and retain customers, and content marketing is concerned with attracting new ones as well as nurturing leads.
That is why customer journey maps created for these two strategies will be different from each other.
Let’s consider some examples, so you understand the difference.
|Content marketing-driven map||Customer experience-driven map|
|Touchpoint: “The customer opens a product page and needs details about why they should consider buying it.”||Touchpoint: “The customer opens a product page and needs to see its advantages above the fold for easy access.”|
|After-the-purchase touchpoint: “The customer needs to know how other businesses succeeded with the app, is pleased to see success stories and case studies on the blog.”||After-the-purchase touchpoint: “The customer needs helps with using the app, is pleased to see a knowledge base with brief and clearly written tutorials.”|
As you can see, customer experience focuses on similar things but uses different content and methods to achieve them.
So, creating a customer journey map based on customer experience will have you focused on UX rather than the value of the content, as well as its ability to bring new leads.
The Bottom Line
The customer journey map defines how successful your content will be in many ways.
If for some reason it gives you an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of your customer’s needs, chances are high that your content marketing performance will suffer.
Check your customer journey map for these mistakes, and learn how to be more customer-centric to maximize the impact of your content.